||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 100 (Jul)
|| EWHC 1360 (TCC)
||Queen's Bench Division (Technology and Construction Court)
Judge Peter Coulson QC
||James Leabeater (instructed by Dickinson Dees) for the claimant.
||Simon Henderson (instructed by Weightmans) for the defendant.
||31 May 2007
Building contract - Adjudication - Award - Enforcement - Time by which decision was to be completed - Further material provided late in adjudication process - Defendant not responding to request by adjudicator for more time - Whether defendant acquiescing to grant of extension - Whether defendant agreeing to extension - Whether defendant estopped from denying grant of extension - Whether 'flexible approach' to statutory interpretation applicable to Scheme for Construction Contracts - Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998, SI 1998/649, Sch 1, para 19.
Building contract Adjudication. When the adjudicator asked for more time in circumstances where further material had been submitted late in the adjudication process, there was a clear obligation on the part of both parties to the adjudication to respond plainly and promptly to the request. If, in breach of that obligation, one party did not respond at all, there had to be a very strong case for saying that they had accepted the need for the required extension by their silence. On the evidence, the defendant had either acquiesced to the extension sought by the adjudicator, had agreed to that extension by its conduct, or was estopped from denying that the adjudicator's decision had been reached in time. Accordingly, the adjudicator's award would be enforced. The court also commented that the 'flexible approach' to statutory interpretation, advocated in previous authority, whereby the court looked not only at the language of the provision concerned, but also the consequences of non-compliance, had no obvious place in the field of private dispute resolution.
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